- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii opposes two measures targeting homelessness on Maui that the county mayor says would protect public health and safety.

The organization singled out bills that ban sitting or lying on sidewalks and going to the bathroom in public areas. Three other measures presented to the County Council last year prohibit drinking in public areas, stealing shopping carts and aggressive panhandling.

“The poorest Maui County residents will face criminal penalties for the basic life functions of sleeping and going to the bathroom,” the group’s legal director, Daniel Gluck, told The Maui News (http://bit.ly/1RwJ5wL ) in an email Friday.

The package of bills is “intended to help protect and preserve the public health, safety and welfare,” Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said in a letter to council Chairman Mike White in November.

Council members argue that the measures could face legal challenges.

“There are policy and constitutional concerns on these bills and each of them will have to be thoroughly reviewed,” White said in an email Friday. “I have not received a strong indication on the need for these new laws to address homelessness and if they are even enforceable.”

Arakawa said in a Maui News column last week that the proposed bills have been approved “through our Corporation Counsel attorneys.”

The Corporation Counsel’s office sought guidance from the ACLU on the panhandling measure because the group sued Hawaii County over its anti-solicitation ordinance, Gluck said. The settlement resulted in that county repealing provisions that criminalized solicitation and begging.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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